Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma

Date:
January 10, 2013
Source:
University of Colorado Denver
Summary:
"Not only do we see more abnormal methylation in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients than in healthy B-cell populations, but there are three distinct subtypes of the disease in the clinic, each more aggressive than the next. These three clinical trajectories of non-Hodgkins lymphoma were distinctly marked by their levels of abnormal methylation," says a CU Cancer Center investigator.

Think of the epigenome like a giant musical mixing board, turning up or down the expression of various genes. A University of Colorado Cancer Center study published January 11 in the journal PLoS Genetics shows that in cancer, not only can genes themselves go bad, but abnormal changes in the epigenetic mixing board can unfortunately change the expression of these genes. Researchers hope to play the role of sound engineers, controlling these harmful epigenomic changes to turn down cancer itself or perhaps sensitize cancers to existing drugs.

The epigenome's primary tool -- and by far the easiest to study -- is methylation: it attaches little methyl groups to DNA sequences near the genes to silence or promote their expression.

"Not only do we see more abnormal methylation in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients than in healthy B-cell populations, but there are three distinct subtypes of the disease in the clinic, each more aggressive than the next. These three clinical trajectories of non-Hodgkins lymphoma were distinctly marked by their levels of abnormal methylation," says Subhajyoti De, PhD, CU Cancer Center investigator and assistant professor at the CU School of Medicine.

In other words, methylation patterns predict patient survival. Here's how it works:

DNA should be methylated in a consistent way -- you get a certain, standardized amount of methyl "residue" attached to your genes. Sure enough, that's the case in healthy B-cells. Subhajyoti and colleagues show that in cancerous B-cells, the level of DNA methylation from cell to cell varies wildly. And the more wildly the level of DNA methylation varies, the more aggressive is the cancer. It's as if, in the body, you want a consistent epigenome that maintains the methylation of the healthy status quo -when a willy-nilly epigenome drops methylation randomly here and there, it promotes non-normal cells, like cancer.

So abnormal methylation is certainly correlated with not only cancer, but with the aggressive behaviors of cancer subtypes. But what exactly is the functional role of this methylation?

"We think that in addition to genetic mutations that cause cancer, epigenetic changes probably play a subtle role that allows the cancer to thrive within our body," Subhajyoti says.

There are drugs that affect the epigenome's ability to methylate and so control genes -- some of which crescendo or decrescendo the amount of methylation across the board, and some of which affect the amount of methylation on certain genetic products. Does one of these drugs hold the key to muting cancer?

Subhajyoti hopes to find out.

"For the last 50 years, the scientific community pushed to identify the genetic drivers of cancer, but now in the past five or six years we've expanded the search into the epigenome as well," Subhajyoti says. "We now expect to find that both genetic and epigenetic abnormalities are important for initiation and maintenance of cancer."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado Denver. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Subhajyoti De, Rita Shaknovich, Markus Riester, Olivier Elemento, Huimin Geng, Matthias Kormaksson, Yanwen Jiang, Bruce Woolcock, Nathalie Johnson, Jose M. Polo, Leandro Cerchietti, Randy D. Gascoyne, Ari Melnick, Franziska Michor. Aberration in DNA Methylation in B-Cell Lymphomas Has a Complex Origin and Increases with Disease Severity. PLoS Genetics, 2013; 9 (1): e1003137 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003137

Cite This Page:

University of Colorado Denver. "Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212321.htm>.
University of Colorado Denver. (2013, January 10). Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212321.htm
University of Colorado Denver. "Epigenomic abnormalities predict patient survival in non-Hodgkins lymphoma." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110212321.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Study Links Male-Pattern Baldness To Prostate Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) New findings suggest men with a certain type of baldness at age 45 are 39 percent more likely to develop aggressive prostate cancer. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins